A federal judge ruled Friday that the North Carolina Green Party’s U.S. Senate candidate must be on the November ballot, despite repeated attempts by Democrats to prevent the Progressives from undermining one of their best chances to overthrow the seat in the narrowly divided chamber.
The order of U.S. District Judge James Dever III barred the state board of elections from enforcing the July 1 deadline for candidate submissions to give Green Party Senate candidate Matthew Hoe a run for the North Carolina ballot.
Although the Greens submitted a petition to become the new party earlier this year, it was initially rejected by the Electoral Commission during an investigation into the party’s signature collection process, causing the now certified Greens to miss the deadline.
Dever canceled a federal court hearing scheduled for Monday and gave Hoh until Wednesday to submit his paperwork before the board’s Aug. 12 ballot-printing deadline. But Hoh said he was concerned that “outrageous new lawsuits” in state courts could interfere with Friday’s favorable ruling in federal court.
The North Carolina Democrats, represented by the powerful Washington Elias Law Group, asked a state court Wednesday to overturn a unanimous board vote to certify the Greens. The Democrats’ lawsuit marks their latest attempt to block votes after admitting to pressure signers to withdraw their names from the Green Party petition.
Democrats have warned that Stanley Ho’s presence on the ballot could divide progressive voters and lead to a GOP victory in the Senate race between Democrat Cherry Beasley and Republican Rep. · Trump support.
The federal judge’s ruling acknowledged that parallel lawsuits had been filed, but directed the board to put Hoh on the ballot because federal law takes precedence over state law under the U.S. Constitution’s supremacy clause. Despite the Wake County Superior Court case, Dever advised the board to follow his directions, writing that federal courts have jurisdiction over “this federal constitutional requirement.”
“This important legal victory follows an unprecedented amount of voter intimidation, harassment and fraud, perpetrated by well-funded partisan operatives to keep us from getting votes,” North Carolina Green Party co-chair Tony Enderger said Friday. .”
Schoenbaum is a member of the Associated Press/US State Capitol Journalism Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit, national service program that allows journalists to report on hidden issues in local newsrooms. Follow her on Twitter at twitter.com/H_Schoenbaum.